February 03, 2005

Craig, Crapo Introduce Water Settlement Bill

Seeks to codify the Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA) Settlement

WASHINGTON, D.C. â?? Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo introduced legislation late yesterday to codify the Snake River Basin Adjudication (SRBA) Settlement.The legislation will direct the Secretary of the Interior and the heads of other Federal agencies to carry out an Agreement resolving some of the largest outstanding issues with respect to the SRBA in Idaho. It strives to achieve a fair, equitable, and final settlement of all claims of the Nez Perce Tribe and other parties with rights to Snake River water.In order to achieve these goals, the legislation authorizes federal funds to be appropriated that are necessary for the United States to meet its obligations under the Agreement.â??Senator Crapo and I introduced legislation we hope will expedite the implementation of the carefully crafted SRBA Settlement. Given the time left in this Congress for legislative work, the challenge of getting a bill out of Committee and then to the Senate Floor is quite daunting. However, we are committed to ensuring the hard work of the Governor and the various Idaho stakeholders is supported by Congress.â?? said Senator Craig.Senator Mike Crapo said, â??The introduction of this bill begins the public review of a legal settlement won by several years of hard talks. Like the parties to the settlement, newcomers to this issue should strive for agreement. Agreement among Idahoans is the best governance of Idaho's economy and environmental heritage -- far more reliable than judgments in the courts.â??â??This agreement is the result of several years of negotiation between state, private, tribal and U.S. representatives, and Idaho's delegation in Washington, D.C. is working hard to see that its vision becomes a reality,â?? Kempthorne said. â??This federal legislation is essential for the State of Idaho to exercise its sovereign rights over the allocation of its water and give Idaho's water users assurances of security and flexibility to address the water challenges facing their businesses and communities.â??Please visit our websites at http://craig.senate.gov, http://crapo.senate.gov, and http://www.state.id.us.[30]